TAPIF Orientation – Dijon

On Tuesday, October 3rd, the assistants at the Academy of Dijon met for our official orientation session, marking the beginning of our work contracts and thereby, commencing our work in the classroom.

As Clamecy is a small town with limited trains departing and arriving each day, I decided to travel from Clamecy to Auxerre by train on Monday morning, then take a BlaBlaCar from Auxerre to Dijon that afternoon. This, in my eyes, was 10x better than taking the 5am train from Clamecy to Dijon on Tuesday morning (I’m a morning person, but I was not about to walk 2/3 of a mile to the train station at 4h30 in the morning).

I thought my reading choice was appropriate for my train ride 🙂

While I had seen a brief view of Auxerre from the train window during my first ride to Clamecy, I was excited to spend a few hours exploring the city I had heard so much about! It is the closest big city to Clamecy, so there are a number of teachers at the lycĂ©e that live in Auxerre and in the surrounding areas. My train/BlaBlaCar schedule allowed me almost five hours to explore this beautiful city, and I already can’t wait to go back!

As soon as I got off the train, I headed across the bridge to the centre ville, as there are a number of beautiful churches in Auxerre that I was dying to peer inside. Let me just say, the churches did not disappoint! As grand as their exteriors is as breath-taking as their interiors; I simply couldn’t get enough.

St. Peter’s Church
Cathedral Saint-Etienne

After exploring the churches and eating a quick lunch, I spent some time walking by the river and hanging out at the train station while I waited for my BlaBlaCar.


As I stated in my last blog, my BlaBlaCar was excellent and I can’t wait to use the service again. I arrived at my hostel, got settled into my room, and ate dinner at my hostel before settling in a bit early for the night.

On Tuesday morning, I ate breakfast (for free!) at my hostel, packed up my bags, and headed off for the lycée where the orientation was being held.

Feeling so French with a croissant, bread, and café au lait

For the first half of the day, we were given a lot of information about the administrative tasks we had to take care of in order to be in France legally and receive health care coverage. The second half of the day, we were divided up by language and placement time (primary, middle/high school) and brainstormed icebreaker activities in small groups to do with the students before presenting them in front of everyone to a sample class of French students. A big shout-out to Connections for introducing me to a plethora of icebreaker games, as I got to teach one of my favorites to the “class”, in addition to the other assistants, and people enjoyed it! While it was a long day, it was awesome to be able to connect with other assistants placed in Dijon, as many of us are in the same boat of being placed in smaller towns. Plus, now I have friends I can travel with, which is always a plus!

For individuals who might be interested in what the TAPIF orientation is like, I have included our schedule du jour at the bottom of this post.

One exciting this that came out of orientation is that I was finally able to meet the German assistant I would be working/living with in Clamecy! So far, it has been wonderful getting to know her and we get along very well (which is a huge relief given that we didn’t know anything about each other’s personalities before agreeing to live together!).

One of the only pictures I took in Dijon…whoops!

After the end of orientation, we headed to the train station, grabbed dinner, and settled into our 2 1/2 hour train ride back to Clamecy. After walking back to our temporary living arrangement at 9:30pm, we promptly unloaded our bags and fell asleep, as we both had another busy day ahead filled with finding a permanent living arrangement, continuing to fill out paperwork, and prepping for classes!

Until next time,


TAPIF Orientation, Academy of Dijon, 03/10/2017

9h15: Start time–lots of introductions from various important people from the high school where the orientation was held, in addition to people in charge within the academy.

10h00: Presentation about our role as an assistant, time to submit our OFII forms and ask questions about various paperwork/processes to complete

11h00: DARIC Presentation

11h15: Presentation about the region of Bourgogne/life at the high school given by some students

11h30: Video from a former assistant

12h00: Group picture

12h30: Lunch at the high school (3,20 euros)

13h30-16h00: Group work creating icebreaker activities. Some examples are described below.

  1. 2 Truths, 1 Lie: Every student comes up with two truths and one lie about themselves. After stating their facts, each student is the small group has the opportunity to ask the first student one question about their statements in order to figure out which of their three statements in the lie. When the last person has asked their question, one student is allowed to guess which statement is the lie, but must be able to answer the question, “Why do you think this is the lie?”.
  2. Introduce Yourself (the one I presented): Each student must introduce themselves to another student in the group, stating 1) their name, 2) what paradise looks like for them (or an easier question, what does a perfect day look like to you?), 3) where they see themselves in five years. After both students introduce themselves to each other, they must introduce their partner to the rest of the group.
  3. Never Have I Ever: Students hold up 10 fingers and make a statement about something they have never done (Ex. Never have I ever had a pet bird). If another student has done said statement, they put down a finger. If all ten fingers are put down, that student is out. The process is repeated until there is one person left with fingers still up, who is the winner.

2 Thoughts

  1. Glad to see that you got to enjoy exploring Auxerre a bit in between rides to orientation. Your region’s orientation is very similar to the ones I had back as an assistant in Rouen; will there be more orientations to come later for you? Your classroom ideas sound great, especially for the first day of school. I was in Dijon this March, and it’s a beautiful city– hope you can visit it for a longer period later on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I am not sure (which is probably something I need to figure out!). Thank you, Rebecca. Next time I go to Dijon, I definitely want to spend a few days exploring. There is so much to see and Dijon has some really stellar museums that I want to check out!

      Liked by 1 person

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